Why I never wish for my daughters to be straight (or gay)

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There are many things that I hope not to pass on to my children. My anxious temperament, my penchant for crankiness, and my awkwardness come to mind as things they would do better without. But, I cannot say that I have ever hoped that being gay would be one of those things that skipped their generation.

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But last week, I read this article from a gay mom who sometimes wishes her five-year-old daughter will be straight. I admit that my first reaction to the article was somewhere between disbelief and anger. It felt like a betrayal for a member of our community to say that she sometimes wishes her daughter will be straight because how many of us have heard those same words uttered to us? But then I read it again and found that I could relate to what was behind her words, even if I cannot agree with her conclusion.

It’s impossible to have children and not have your life swamped with worry. You can see danger from such threatening menace as a stuffed animal in their crib. We cover the electrical outlets in our home, put up baby gates, and cut their grapes into tiny pieces so that they will survive to adulthood. With all that constant vigilance, it’s easy to become like Marlin in Finding Nemo, so relentlessly overprotective that our children never experience anything for fear that they may be hurt. Not very fun for little Harpo. But no matter how we want to protect our kids from every kind of hurt imaginable, we can’t; not by wishing for them to be straight or good-looking or smart or have a killer jump shot. We can’t protect them forever, but that doesn’t mean we give up trying.

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So, as much as I disagree with the writer of that article, I understand her, too. I don’t wish for my kids to be gay or not to be gay. Frankly, I don’t care if they fall in love with a boy or a girl or spend their lives single. I wish for them to find happiness even if the path to discover it is fraught with disappointment and heartache. I wish for them to find understanding even if it takes being painfully misunderstood first. I wish for them to find a place or a person or something that makes them feel like they have found a home. It’s not for me to tell them what that home should look like, just to help them know what it feels like to be loved and to give them the tools they need for their lifelong adventures.

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